HALIFAX — Stocking stuffers with a kick are moving briskly off the shelves at Nova Scotia’s government-operated cannabis shops in the leadup to Christmas.
In showing off the early offerings of various “edibles” at a Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation outlet, spokeswoman Bev Ware notes quite a few cupboards are already bare.
Ware says lineups of customers filled the store on Monday, and all of the chocolate and chewable types of marijuana products were sold out by day’s end.
Customers doing Christmas Eve shopping had to content themselves with various infused teas and vaping products at the Clyde Street location in downtown Halifax.
Regulations governing next-generation cannabis products such as edibles, beverages, vapes and topical forms of cannabis came into effect as of Oct. 17 — exactly one year after Canada legalized recreational pot.
Due to the mandatory 60-day notice period companies must provide to Health Canada before selling these products, the earliest they could legally go on sale in Canada was mid-December.
Companies have been unveiling details of products ranging from spring water to mints that contain CBD and THC, the two active ingredients found in cannabis.
These cannabis-derived products are subject to regulations, including a cap on the level of active ingredients and packaging.
PEI Cannabis was also selling on Christmas Eve, with some products available since last Thursday, a saleswoman at the Charlottetown shop said Tuesday.
The Island has already become the second highest per capita purchaser of regulated cannabis in Canada, at $97 per resident per year.
However, in some regions, including Alberta and Ontario, many consumers are having to wait until 2020 for offerings.
Heather Holmen, communications manager for Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission, said in an emailed statement that her province’s 380 private retailers won’t have the products until next month.
“Once product is ordered, shipped to us, received and put into inventory, retailers will be able to place their orders,” she wrote.
“Factor in order processing and shipping time to retailers, that brings us to mid-January before consumers will be able to find product on store shelves.”
The AGLC is still in discussions with licensed producers to determine the types of products will be offered from about half of the 42 producers who will be participating, Holmen said.
One line of products, vaping, has come under scrutiny after more than 1,400 related lung illnesses in the U.S. have been reported — many of which involved THC-containing products — and recently diagnosed cases in Quebec and B.C.
Health Canada said in an emailed statement that it is not delaying the legalization of pot vapes, but is actively monitoring the situation on both sides of the border.
It “will take additional action, if warranted and as appropriate, to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” the government agency said.